9/19/2008

The NDP on Childcare

By now, many of you will be well aware of the NDP's plan for a national daycare system. They call it an "investment."
(Before I begin, let me just say that such a view on children ought to immediately alarm every parent who can read. Our children are not commodities.)
A few notes from their site:
Healthy environments, nutrition and engagement are crucial.

True.
...learning-oriented child care is one choice that gives kids a valuable head-start.

Also true. In fact, in a child's first five years of life, it is almost impossible for them not to learn. Furthermore, roughly 50% of the information a child will need for the rest of its life is collected before age five.
With its stated goals of ending childhood poverty, providing a better world for Canadian children and helping parents, this sounds like a noble goal on the face of it.
But, closer examination reveals the following:
most families with preschoolers rely on outside child care

Really? Are you sure? And, incidentally, do the families that rely on outside child care want it to be that way? And what about those of us that don't rely on outside care?
With a shortage of 1.4-million quality spaces...

There is only one way to arrive at a number that large.
They are planning a space for every child in Canada.
Again, what about those of us who don't rely on outside care and never will? Do the NDP plan to over-tax the public to fund these daycare spaces anyway? Or do they honestly think that if daycare were available, everyone would use it?
Because, if they do think that, let me be the first to dispel that ridiculous notion and say my kids will be in daycare over my dead body.
I found the gross misrepresentation of the Conservative Childcare Benefit interesting.
[Harper's] "Universal Child Care Benefit" is a deceptive family allowance subject to unfair clawbacks — families that need childcare the most get the least, and nobody gets more than $100/month, which does little to offset the average family's child care costs.

Nobody gets more than $100 a month?
The amount is $100 per month per child under five.
So, no family in Canada has more than one child under five? Not one?
That's odd, because the last time I checked, I have two children under five. Lord willing, I could have another. I have a friend with three boys all under five. My two sister's-in-law have two kids under five (plus more over that age). There are several families in my church with two or three children under five, often plus more over that age. Funny how the NDP claim to represent the "working" family, when they cannot account for the many families who have multiple children and refuse outside care.
One wonders their true opinion of the "working" family.
Which brings me to Exhibit B.
Helen discussed in length with Ian Capstick the importance of the NDP acknowledging parental care in all of its form through childcare. At one point Helen Ward stated "every mother is a working mother." Ian Capstick, who is the press secretary to Jack Layton leader of the NDP, slammed back at Helen with a sharp tone "THAT IS POPPY COCK AND YOU KNOW IT!"

Poppycock.
In other words, not every mother is a working mother.
So, which of us don't work?
Hmm.
Bet I know.
According to the NDP site:
When Europeans countries invested to ensure child care for most of their citizens, they found that each dollar spent returned two more to the economy.

Again we see a view of the family that proceeds from the position of the dollar.
Did anyone bother to ask why two dollars are returned to the economy?
Because free day care means more people out in the workforce, working to pay their taxes, which, newsflash Mr. Layton is not why we work. But the NDP never seem to get that.
So, translated another way, stay-at-home-mom's don't work. If they did, they'd be "contributing" to the economy.
Why is the economy an acceptable prism through which to view the family?
Are people not more important than money?

When I first read Ian Capstick's comment, I was wave-my-fists-in-the-air, smash-my-face-on-the-desk angry. It is an outrage to suggest that stay-at-home-mom's don't work. It is even more of an outrage to suggest the idea that "every mother is a working mother" is "poppycock."
And yes, that is exactly what he was suggesting. Don't even bother trying to defend him.
Poppycock.
Does this guy have any idea what is involved in raising children?
Does he care that children abandoned to daycare don't bond properly with their parents in the critical first years of their lives? As a direct result, these kids have greater emotional, social and developmental problems, are more prone to inappropriate aggression and these things do affect them later on in life.
I'd also like to know at what age this daycare is expected to start caring for our children.
Birth?
A year?
I wonder how many people reading this are aware that children are not born self-aware? Do you understand how an child's brain develops?
Quick science lesson!
The human brain has not finished developing when we are born. Neural pathways are still forming, and continue forming well into adulthood. However, the majority of brain growth and half of all information collection required for life happens before age five. There used to be a commercial "The years before five last the rest of their lives." That's actually true. Furthermore, a baby's experiences develop their brain. Sensory experience teaches the brain its job. Without enough sensory experiences, brain cells will start to die off. It's possible to increase a child's intellectual potential through the correct environment, stimulation and discipline.
Just as a positive environment can increase a child's potential, a stressful environment can have detrimental effects on infants and toddlers. Young children exposed to continual stress do not build their neural pathways correctly due to high levels of stress hormones such as cortisol and adrenaline. These abnormal pathways cause the child to learn inappropriate and often violent responses, setting their brain up for "fight or flight." In other words, if your child is continually afraid, they will learn to continually react out of that fear. It is easily shown that one of the most stressful environments a parent can place their child in is one where they feel abandoned. Abandonment leads to fear. This brings me to separation anxiety. When a child is born, it identifies itself as a part of the mother. It takes as much as a year post partum for a child to understand that they are their own person. This new understanding is the underlying reason for separation anxiety, a genuinely stressful time in your child's life. Since all children do experience this to some degree, it must be noted that the effects of separation anxiety can be mitigated through proper parental interaction and discipline. In fact, proper parental interaction can make separation anxiety appear to not exist in a particular child. This only serves to underscore the critical importance a parent plays in the life of their child in the first years of their life.
And yet, how many daycare centers have children under a year in their care?
How many have children only a few weeks old?
I know of an instance where a child was placed in daycare at a mere six weeks of age! Six weeks! That child has barely learned to smile!
And this is what the NDP wants to fund?
Why not give parents real choices?
Like, not taxing the snot out of us to fund your ill-conceived, nanny-statist plots!
Don't think for a moment that families with a stay-at-home parent will be exempt from the taxes needed to fund this national daycare system. We won't. If anything, we'll will have to struggle more to fight for the right to raise our own children. The role of mother will be all the more disparaged as the state tries to take a place within the family that it has no business taking.
Two closing notes:
Someone sent me an excellent quote on motherhood by G.K. Chesterton.
"To be Queen Elizabeth within a definite area, deciding sales, banquets, labors and holidays; to be Whiteley within a certain area, providing toys, boots, sheets cakes. and books, to be Aristotle within a certain area, teaching morals, manners, theology, and hygiene; I can understand how this might exhaust the mind, but I cannot imagine how it coul... Read Mored narrow it. How can it be a large career to tell other people’s children about the Rule of Three, and a small career to tell one’s own children about the universe? How can it be broad to be the same thing to everyone, and narrow to be everything to someone? No; a woman’s function is laborious, but because it is gigantic, not because it is minute."

In 1995, the Supreme Court of Canada had this to say:
"...Our society is far from having repudiated the privileged role parents exercise in the upbringing of their children. This role translates into a protected sphere of parental decision making which is coated in the presumption that parents should make important decisions affecting their children both because parents are more likely to appreciate the best interests of their children and because the state is ill equipped to make such decisions itself. Moreover, individuals have a deep personal interest as parents in fostering the growth of their children.

Ill-equipped.
The government can barely run itself. How could it ever run your home or raise your children?

2 comments:

Anonymous said...

Hi, I just read an old comment you made about blog stalkers and not doing what you would not do in public. Wouldn't that restrict Freedom of Speech? The whole point about being free is to be able to speak one's mind. I only say this because I have a blog that is 4 days old and I have a nutjob stalker who is starting to fill my in-box with hate mail. If we can't speak our minds, then we may as well live in an Islamic society controlled by religion.

Ruth said...

I don't know what comment you would be referring to. If someone posts something particularly inflammatory, it doesn't get published here. It gets deleted. And yes, I delete stupid stuff all the time.
With respect to not blogging something you wouldn't say in public, this is only common sense. If you don't want people to see something stupid/inflammatory that you write, don't write it on the web.
Ignore people who send you hate mail. The only reason they send hate mail is because they can't come up with anything intelligent to say.

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